What ever happened to J. Gordon Whitehead? Was he charged with manslaughter or assault? Did he regret killing Harry Houdini or did he wear it as a badge of pride that he proved Houdini was merely human? I’ve been searching Google and haven’t found anything except for the fact that Mr. Whitehead was a McGill alumni and supposedly an amateur boxer.
Disclaimer: IANAM (I Am Not A Mod)
But I believe this belongs over in GQ.
Well, he didn’t actually kill the man. Poor Eric was already suffering from acute appendicitis.
He also had a penchant for inviting people to punch him in the stomach, the way some guys do. Mr. Whitehead asked him about this, and “Houdini” allowed him to take a shot, which was bad judgment on his part.
Besides which, McGill students can do no wrong.
According to this
As for Whitehead, information provided by McGill University’s archives suggests the student was never investigated for any wrongdoing in Houdini’s death. As well, a professor of psychology denied that any punching took place after Houdini delivered his lecture at McGill. It’s possible, however, that the blow took place at a different time in Houdini’s dressing room. In the end, Houdini’s widow was apparently the beneficiary of an insurance policy worth $25,000 that doubled if the escape artists’s death was deemed accidental rather than from an aggressive action. Her New York lawyers inquired about the Montreal incident, but signed an oath saying Whitehead had no intention of hurting Houdini. Apparently Whitehead later accepted a job as a religious minister in the U.S. and disappeared into anonymity.
Ages ago in Omni Magazine, they published a piece about someone who had the theory that Houdini was murdered as Whitehead was supposedly a medical student and involved in groups of the kind Houdini was exposing as a fraud. The theory being that Whitehead was a medical student and thus knew where to hit Houdini to rupture his appendix. Of course, this fails to take into account that Houdini didn’t bother to seek treatment for his appendix until it was too late.